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Meeting Calpernia Addams (updated twice)

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Susan:
I attended the local gay pride event in Clarksville, Tennessee on Saturday. If you havn't already I posted a review  that I sent in to the local paper. The one thing I did not mention in the letter to the editor was my personal meeting with Calpernia Addams.

          I got to the festival early because I was working
          as a volunteer. I helped setup the tables for the
          vendors, cleaned up the concrete floor of the
          pavilion where the birds being birds made a mess.
          I helped inflate the rainbow balloons which were
          tied onto the front of the pavilion facing the
          road. After that I took a break for a bit
          visiting with old friends who were attending that
          day, and making new ones.

          About 11am. I went into the VIP area for a water
          and standing in the room was a man and a woman.
          It took me a few minutes to figure out that the
          woman was Calpernia Addams. She was not due to
          speak till 3pm so I hadn't expected her to arrive
          that early. I was over awed. She was the epitome
          of femininity. If I did not already know that she
          was a transsexual, I would have never guessed.
          Not from appearance and not from her melodious
          voice. If I can make it half as far as she has
          gone in her transition I will be quite happy.

          She introduced herself to me, and I told her who
          I was. I also told her that I ran Susan's Place
          Transgender Resources web site and asked her if
          she had heard of it. Calpernia told me that in
          fact she knew of the site. I explained the
          purpose of the site and some of the various
          sections it contained. At this point Calpernia
          indicated that she wished to go out and mingle
          some. Not wanting to be a pest I stood back and
          followed her out. Many people recognized her and
          asked for photographs and exchanged personal
          comments with her.

          I left her alone and made a run through the
          pavilion to make sure nothing needed looking
          after, and then headed out to my car, to see if I
          could find one of my work business cards. I don't
          have any cards for the web site which is
          something I may have to get made. I ended up
          finding one in the mess I call my trunk. So, I
          wrote the www.susans.org web address on the back
          and went back to locate Calpernia again.
         
          Calpernia was still circulating around through
          the crowd and graciously talking to everyone who
          wished to do so. I caught up with her at the
          Borders books stand where she was talking to the
          clerks. She was later that day to do a book
          signing for her biography which was titled Mark
          947 which is a reference to the bible verse Mark
          9:47.

          And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is
          better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God
          with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast
          into hell fire -- Mark 9:47

I will be writing a detailed review of her book in the next week or so.
         
          Borders also had copies of the movie Soldier's
          girl which is about her life and the tragedies
          she has endured and overcome. I highly recommend
          the movie, however be aware that it is very hard
          to watch, especially for a transsexual. She later
          signed both her book and DVD for me and I will
          talk about the inscriptions she made in them in a
          bit.

          I waited until she was finished talking to the
          clerks and did 2 book signings early then gave
          her my business card with the website address. I
          asked her to call me sometime, wanting to talk
          about the transgender community, and
          transgender resources on the net in general. I
          then left her alone.

          About 3:30pm Calpernia finally took the stage to
          give her talk which I will not detail here. In
          closing she invited people to come get books and
          dvd's signed, chat, or just hug. So I intercepted
          her on the way to the Borders stand and gave her
          a big long hug for all the good she has done and
          will do in the future, all the hurt she has
          suffered through, all the bad times in the past,
          and for the good ones yet to come. I said a few
          things to her which are between her and I and
          then left her alone to let others have their
          moments with her.
         
          I waited about forty five minutes for the crowd
          to die down some and purchased a copy of her book
          and a copy of Soldier's girl. I owned a copy of the
          movie in the past but had given mine to a
          visiting friend. I took both to Calpernia and
          asked her to sign them. I did not request a
          specific inscription so what she wrote was
          totally her decision. In the book she wrote
         
                    Susan,
                   
                    Thank you for
                    all the work
                    you do. You
                    are helping
                    so many
                    people!
                   
                    Love,
                    Calpernia

          I was of course very honored when I read what she
          wrote. I had not expected such a personal
          inscription from someone who I had just met that
          day. On the DVD she wrote a simpler message due
          most likely to the limited space.
         
                    Thank you
                    Susan,
                    Love
                    Calpernia
                    ♥

          Both her book and the DVD are now among my most
          treasured possessions. They are held in trust for
          my staff because without them this site would not
          be here. It would be too much to do by my self.
         
          My personal thanks go out to Alison, Beth,
          Brandi_W, Brenda, Debbee, Dennis, Elleane,
          Emerald, Ilsa, KateAlice, Kelli, Kimberly, Leigh,
          Rana, Peggiann, Reikirobyn, Sandi, Sarra,
          Shelley, Stephanie Craxford, Terri Gene,
          VeryGnawty, and to all the past staff members
         
          Clarksville Pride had two raffle drawings one for
          a very nice quilt, which I wish I had bought
          tickets for. Another was for a Clarksville Pride
          t-shirt which was signed by all the performers
          and speakers that day.  Lucky me, I won the
          T-shirt so I took it over to Calpernia at the
          Borders stand and sat it down in front of her.
          She reached for it probally figuring that I
          wished for her to sign it. I told her it was a
          gift, a memento of the day and told her to wear
          it in good health. She told me she would get it
          scanned and post an image of it on her website. I
          can't wait to see it :)
         
          Around 5:00PM as the day was almost over I saw
          Calpernia heading towards her car so I and
          several other volunteers from the Pride festival
          intercepted her and gave her hugs said our
          goodbyes to her.

          My opinion of Calpernia was high before meeting
          her but after that day it's higher still. She's
          has had a bit of fame and that usually changes
          people for the worse. Calpernia however, well the
          review I put on the link from my site to hers
          when I got home says it all.
         
          By: Susan Larson
               I met Calpernia in person today and she was
               the kindest, most gracious woman I have met
               in a long time. She is a great ambassador
               for the transgender community and to
               everyone who meets her.
          Date added: May 20, 2006

          I now consider her a friend, I hope she considers
          me one as well!

amberctm:
Wow Susan thats really great you got to meet her. I been to her site a couple of times and her photos do look great! I've also seen the movie Soldiers Girl, and I completly agree with you that its a hard watch.
Anyway congrats on your meeting her and reuniting with old friends.
Amber

Melissa:
That's great Susan.  I guess it's been a while that you have been transitioning.  You should post an updated picture so that we can see how much closer you look to Calpernia. :)

Melissa

debbee:
Hi Susan

Written to your usuall high standard. I know you were excited befroe meeting Calpernia and well since you got back from the event you have been full of energy and enthusiasm. I know you wanted to meet her and talk to her and im glad you had the chance to do so. Im also glad it turned out to be such a great experiance for you and it ended up meeting your expectations and maybe exceeding them. The words she enscribed are echoed by all those who come to susans.org as if not for you alot of people would be lost in the world with little or no help for there journey in life as a tg. You have captured the monent and it was a pleasure to read as always.

Debbee

Bdnewgirl:
What a wonderful Post Susan. The thanks means a lot. Its easy to help out her because you are all family. The help , love and support everyone here gives makes it a honer to help out when ever I can.

Love,Hugs
Brandi

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